So this week I was reading All the Birds in the Sky, the Nebula and Locus award-winning pre-apocalyptic SF/Fantasy mashup by Charlie Jane Anders, in which a small group of witches goes to war with a small group of techies as each tries to save the world in its own particular idiom, which are, unfortunately, sort of diametrically opposed. Or at least that’s what they think.
For a novel that has won and been nominated for so many awards, this book has a surprisingly low rating on Goodreads. It is a weird mashup of genres, and tonally it’s all over the place, but I still think it’s fantastic, maybe because its way of offhandedly referencing disastrous background events occurring around the world seems pretty much like how the world really is likely to end these days. Despite all the calamities, in certain places, for certain people, things carry on almost as normal; for instance, there are still entertainers looking for tips at the few remaining restaurants.
This struck Laurence as massively revisionist history. But he couldn’t deny it fit all the facts. A mariachi group in matching little vests came around to try and serenade them. Including little children in teeny vests way past their bedtime. Laurence shooed them away, then felt guilty and ran after them and gave them a hundred bucks as they were leaving the restaurant. Shit. Little kids in teeny vests, out this late.
The world may be ending, but the mariachi bands remain. They’ll probably roam the post-apocalyptic wasteland, perhaps crossing paths with the Shakespearean troupe from Station Eleven. They could put on a double-feature.
Meanwhile, speaking of signs of the apocalypse, here’s another one, from Father’s Books:
“So what’s good here?” Richard scanned the menu. “Pizza with apple slices? Ugh. I heard this place sucks. Stuff like that must be why.”
You’re not wrong, Richard.